For Buffalo Sabers fans on the East Coast, it will be late tonight. Buffalo takes on the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena at 9 p.m. MSG and WGR 550 are the places to catch the action. Pre-match coverage on MSG begins at 8:30 a.m.
There are questions over who will start in goal tonight. Michael Houser entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol before the team flew west, leaving Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski as the only options right now. They both missed a lot of time. Keep scrolling to find out more.
And stay tuned for Don Granato’s pregame media availability, where we may receive more clarity on the lineup.
Here’s what you need to know.
Video: Friday Training Report: Heading to Arizona
We have more on the situation of goalkeepers in practice report:
Michael Houser entered COVID-19 protocol on Friday, creating another miss in goal for the Buffalo Sabers as Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski yields close to potential.
Houser will become the sixth Buffalo goaltender to miss time this season. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (lower body) and Malcolm Subban (upper body) are currently injured. Aaron Dell is suspended three games for interference with Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson on Tuesday.
Video: After Practice Friday: Don Granato
Anderson and Tokarski were the only goaltenders practicing Friday before the Sabers depart for a three-game road trip that opens Saturday in Arizona. General manager Kevyn Adams told reporters the two were expected to travel with the team.
Anderson, who was Buffalo’s starter on opening night, has been out since suffering an upper-body injury in San Jose on Nov. 2. Tokarski entered COVID protocol on Dec. 2 and did not return to games due to lingering symptoms.
Granato said before hearing from Houser that the team hoped Anderson would start one of the Sabers’ back-to-back games in Arizona on Saturday or Colorado on Sunday.
Video: After Practice Friday: Dustin Tokarski
Tokarski began training with the Sabers on December 27 and continued skating with the team until January 16. He returned to training on Thursday.
“There were times when I thought I was close, then there are setbacks, then you try something new and something else happens or pops up,” he said. “So there’s been a lot of question marks over the…seven, eight weeks now, but we’re doing our best to answer them.
“The coaches have been good at helping me and supporting this unfortunate little trip here. I’ve enjoyed Buffalo a lot throughout the year, everyone has been helpful. Hopefully I can help this team soon.”
During this time, Zemgus Girgensons did not practice on Friday and will be out during the all-star break, Granato said. Girgensons had missed five games with a lower-body injury before playing Tuesday in Ottawa.
Learn more here.
• This is the second and final meeting between the Sabers and the Coyotes this season.
• Last meeting: Buffalo beat Arizona 2-1 (SO) in Buffalo on October 16th.
• The Sabers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games against the Coyotes; 8-2-0 on the road.
• This is the 84th game of all time between Buffalo and Arizona. Buffalo has a 49-24-10 series record.
• The Sabers are 22-16-2 on the road against the Coyotes all-time.
• If he gets dressed, tonight will be Rasmus Asplund100th career game in the NHL.
• Since his Sabers debut on December 29, the Sabers striker Alex Tuch had 10 points (3+7) in 10 games, including six points in his last five games (2+4).
• Tagus Thompson has 12 points (4+8) in his last 12 games played, including five points (2+3) in his last four games.
• Rasmus Dahlin has five points (1+4) in its last three games.
Video: [email protected]: Skinner scores on the power play for the 2nd of the game
• In his last 10 games, Jeff Skinner scored 10 points (7+3).
• Skinner has 11 points (6+5) in his last 10 games against the Coyotes, including six points (4+2) in five games against Arizona since joining the Sabres.
• Dylan Cozens enters tonight’s game with four points (2+2) in his last four games.
• Cody Eakin has six points (3+3) in his last seven games against the Coyotes, including one point (1+1) in each of his last two visits to Arizona.
• Tonight’s game opens the ninth of Buffalo’s 16-game series this season, which ends tomorrow night in Colorado.
• The Sabers are 3-4-1 in the first straight sets game and 1-3-4 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in straight sets this season is: four points (0), three points (3), two points (1), one point (2) and zero points (2).
Pysyk’s mic is on
He chose not to say much, but here’s a taste of a recent practice through the eyes of Marc Pysyk:
Video: Mic’d Up: Mark Pysyk
Sabers and Bills Announce Better Together Fundraising Initiative
As Black History Month begins, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabers announce Better Togethera One Buffalo fundraising initiative to benefit organizations that address food insecurity in Black and African American communities.
Through Better Together, the Buffalo Bills Foundation and the Buffalo Sabers Foundation have partnered to raise funds for five local organizations working to ensure families have access to healthy, nutritious food in Black and African American communities. :
• African Heritage Food Cooperative
• Buffalo Center for Health Equity
• Buffalo Freedom Gardens
• Buffalo goes green
• Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)
The Bills and Sabers foundations will donate totaling $120,000 to these organizations throughout the first week of February and are asking the community to get involved.
Fans are invited to donate at bettertogetherbuffalo.org from January 31 through February 4.
Click here for more information.
And stay tuned for more details next week.
The Amerks beat Syracuse
Forward Ryan MacInnis single-handedly beat the Syracuse Crunch (15-14-3-1) scoring both goals, including the winning tally with 6.4 seconds left in regulation, to lift the Americans from Rochester (21-12-2-1) for a 2-1 win Friday night at Blue Cross Arena.
By scoring two goals, MacInnis surpassed the 10-goal mark for the first time in six AHL seasons and became only the third Amerk to achieve the feat this season, joining Jack Quinn and Michael Mersch. The veteran forward also eclipsed the 20-point mark for the third consecutive campaign. He also scored six goals in six games during the month of January.
Mersch also extended his current points streak to seven consecutive games with the main assist on the game-winning goal, matching his career which he established in 2015. The Amerks captain is now two points away from reaching the 40 mark. points for the fifth. time in eight years.
Brandon Biro pushed his scoring streak to three games with an assist on MacInnis’ goal in the second period. Biro has 19 points (5+14) in his last 18 games to move up to 10th in scoring among all AHL rookies.
Goaltender Mat Robson made 25 saves for his second straight win and improved to 5-2-1 this season. He’s allowed two goals against in his last two starts combined and hasn’t lost in regulation in five starts in January.
With the victory, Rochester, which opened its second four-game homestand of the month, goes 3-0-2-1 in its last six home games while winning points in 16 of its last 23 games overall. since November 1. 19.
The Amerks cap off January by hosting the league-leading Utica Comets for a 6:05 p.m. showdown at Blue Cross Arena tonight. All the action will be broadcast live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM / 950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
And for more on JJ Peterka’s rookie season, read our report on him here.